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Half Of Guantanamo Detainees Now On Hunger Strike

We told you last week about an increase in the number of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay. This week, that number has risen further – to cover half of all inmates at the U.S. detention facility; also, 1 in 10 inmates is now being force fed.

Eighty-four of the 166 prisoners at the camp are on hunger strike, the U.S. military said Sunday; 16 of them are being force fed through tubes.

The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg reports:

"Hunger strike figures have been climbing since U.S. troops raided a communal medium-security compound at the prison camps April 13, and placed about 65 captives under single-cell lockdown. Weeks before, the detainees had covered up most of the prison's surveillance cameras and kept themselves largely out of view of their U.S. Army guards, the military said, stirring fears that some were planning to commit suicide."

Rosenberg reports that the Justice Department has notified the attorneys of those men being force fed. One of those prisoners is Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a Yemeni detainee at the camp who has been on hunger strike since Feb. 10. Moqbel wrote an op-ed in The New York Times this month titled "Gitmo Is Killing Me."

"There is no end in sight to our imprisonment," he wrote. "Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made."

Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that the military is sending fewer than 40 medical reinforcements — including doctors, nurses, corpsmen and medics — to the facility amid the growing hunger strike; 100 medical personnel are already on duty.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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